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Book Drive


We are in the last two days of our book drive with a senior-level social work cohort that lovingly calls themselves Team 461.

Here you can find the link to our Facebook event and here you can find our Amazon Wish List

Here is a description the students we are partnered with wrote about the event itself and the community members we have partnered with for it:

“Hello everyone! This is a long description but it is so worth the read.

We are excited to announce a project we have been hard at work putting together. UniPlace Church has partnered with the University of Illinois Social Work program seniors to make a positive impact on the youth of our community. Jessi Delost, our Campus Connector, has helped direct the 461 student team on creating a book drive to help expand literature accessibility to kids whose access has been limited due to COVID. The team is currently working to obtain these books for the kids that are a part of Cunningham Children’s Home, DREAAM, and Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School.
With this book drive, our goal is to collect books through donations of the members of our community. We will then bring the donations to the various locations and help them distribute the books to the kids. Here you can find a link to our wishlist of appropriate books that have been specifically picked out by the team and members of the agencies we are working with. We have chosen books that are not only age-appropriate but also respect the content due to the history of what some of the children have faced.
There is no way to appropriately express our gratitude and appreciation for any involvement or donations that anyone can provide. It was explained to us that the kids are hungry for more books, and it would be incredible to surprise them with expanded libraries. Through our time working on this project, we have found that reading has been a tool many, adults and youth alike, have utilized as an enjoyable activity during such difficult times. This also promotes a safe, healthy, and educational opportunity for our youth. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Jessi Delost at Any and all support is greatly appreciated and we are so excited to bring everyone together to surprise the kids just in time for the holidays. Thank you all for your time!
-461 Team

Information on each organization we have partnered with this semester:
1. Cunningham Children’s Home is an incredible agency that has been a part of the Champaign-Urbana community for 125 years. They have continued to evolve their advocacy for children over the last century to keep up with the needs of the kids. They currently have a residential program that helps house children at the middle and high school range. Due to COVID impacting their services, the kids are burning through books and need some new material to enjoy.
2. DREAAM is another incredible program that supports boys and young men from the ages of 3-24 by breaking them down into four programs categorized by age groups. They are currently creating an in-house library and adding to their existing collection will only help reinforce the values DREEAM teaches the kids they serve. They put a special emphasis on the importance of literature and we hope to assist them on that endeavor.
3. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary students come from over 50 countries and speak more than 40 languages. The multicultural, multilingual nature of the school population provides a rich learning environment for Dr. King students.” MLK elementary school places a large focus on literature. Their work for kids of multicultural and multilingual backgrounds perfectly align with the kind of books we hope to provide.

Here is a list of aternative bookstores the 461 Team put together for our friends who don’t like purchasing on Amazon! Please still continue using the wishlist as a guide for books and send books to the church address 🙂

1. Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery
From their website: “​Chicago’s only black woman-owned bookstore and gallery space, Semicolon Bookstore and Gallery is committed to nurturing the connection between literature, art, and the pursuit of knowledge; while also using the power of words to better our community.” ​

Online bookseller: ​
From their website: “Biblio was created for the love of books, and a desire to give local bookstores global reach.”
3. Powell’s Books
Independent bookstore: ​
Based in Portland, Oregon. One of the largest independent bookstores in the country. (been there when I visited Portland a couple years back. Really awesome place and they ship anywhere)
4. BetterWorldBooks
“BetterWorldBooks isn’t just a bookstore, but also a charity with a mission to change the world by improving literacy worldwide. Aside from buying and selling books, the company accepts book donations so it can either reuse them in global literacy initiatives or recycle them.”
5. Bookshop
Website where you purchase books and get it shipped straight from local and/or Independent bookstores. If you want to purchase a book from a local shop in your community, you can and they will get the full profit of your purchase.
6. Jane Addams Book Shop
208 N Neil St, Champaign, IL 61820
Local bookstore in Champaign. All used books. My favorite bookstore in the CU community. They have a log so you can ask if they have any books in stock and they’ll check for you. Really great owner and really great, affordable bookstore! Also offer curbside pick-up.

7. Priceless Books
112 W Main St, Urbana, IL 61801
Local bookstore in Urbana. Haven’t been yet, but I drive past it all the time and it’s a really cute little hole in the wall.

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